Citrix Migration Tool and Alternatives to Switch Hypervisors

Virtual machine (VM) migration is a crucial feature of server virtualization. When done correctly, VM migration can manage computing resources efficiently, minimize performance overheads easily, and achieve load balancing and energy efficiency in a virtualized environment.

With a Citrix migration tool, IT administrators can live-migrate VMs easily without any disruption in productivity. Learn more about VM migration and how to select the appropriate Citrix migration tool when moving virtual machines in Citrix hypervisor.

Learning about Citrix Hypervisor

Citrix Hypervisor (formerly known as XenServer) is a type-1 hypervisor from Citrix Systems, Inc. Citrix Hypervisor is based on the Xen hypervisor, which launched in 2003. The Xen Project is implemented as an open-source system that allows multiple OSs to run concurrently on the same hardware.

Enterprises can use this product for cost-effective server, desktop, and cloud computing infrastructures. Citrix Hypervisor has numerous features that organizations can use to consolidate and transform their compute resources in virtualized workloads. Below are a few of them:

The key components of Citrix Hypervisor include hardware, Xen Hypervisor, Control domain, Toolstack and guest domain.


The hardware contains all the physical server components, such as the processor, RAM, network and storage drives. To run Citrix Hypervisor, you need a 64-bit/X86 Intel virtualization technology (VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V)-based system with one or more processors.

Xen Hypervisor

The Xen hypervisor is the primary component that allows different OSs or multiple instances of the same OS to run in parallel on a single host. Enterprises can use the Xen Hypervisor for various purposes, including server virtualization, desktop virtualization, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The Xen Hypervisor works with specific add-ons that make the virtualization experience complete. Some of these add-ons include:

Control domain

The Control domain—also called dom0—is a secure Linux VM that executes the hypervisor’s management toolstack. Besides the management function, the control domain also runs both the network and storage device drivers.


The Toolstack, or Extensive Application Programming Interface (XAPI), is an application that manages VM lifecycle activities, host and virtual machine networking, user authentication and VM storage. IT administrators can also use this software stack to manage the hypervisor’s resource pools.

Guest domain

The guest domains are user-created VMs that request resources from the control domain. Citrix Hypervisor supports multiple guest OSs, such as Windows, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle Linux and Ubuntu.

Moving Virtual Machines to Hyper-V with StarWind V2V Converter

StarWind V2V Converter is an open-source tool that you can use to clone and convert VMs from one format to another. You can migrate VMs between hosts, hypervisors or even public clouds. You can also use this tool to transform physical machines into VMs. For example, migrating VMs from Citrix Hypervisor to Hyper-V is a three-step process:

Step 1: Prepare virtual machines

This step entails cleaning VMs from any Xen-related drivers, tools or files. Start by navigating to Windows guest OS and launching Programs and Features. Once there, uninstall Citrix VM Tools—also called Citrix XenServer Windows Management Agent. After uninstalling Citrix VM Tools, navigate to Windows folder > System32 and delete all XenServer files. Finally, ensure you restart the guest OS for the changes to take effect.

Step 2: Export virtual machines from Citrix Hypervisor

This step involves exporting VMs from XenServer. Follow the steps below to export VMs from Citrix Hypervisor:

  1. Connect to the XenServer via XenCenter.
  2. Choose the VM you intend to export, right-click on it and select Export.
  3. Choose the file name, location, and export format and click Next. In this case, the file name is the name you would like to give to the VMs after exporting, location is the storage drive (which can be shared storage) and export format is the file type.
  4. Add end-user license agreement (EULA) and click Next.
  5. Under the Advanced Options, keep the default settings and click Next.
  6. Under the Transfer VM Settings, select Network. Add an IP address that you will use for transferring the virtual machine and click Next.
  7. Review your export settings and click Finish to complete the process.

Step 3: Converting and importing virtual machines into Hyper-V

This is the last step in the migration process, and it involves converting the exported VM to a file that Hyper-V can read. This step requires the StarWind V2V Converter tool. Proceed as follows:

  1. Download and install the StarWind Converter tool from its official website.
  2. Launch the StarWind Converter.
  3. Choose the location of the image that you want to convert and click Next.
  4. Select the location where you would like the image to be stored and click Next.
  5. Now enter the Hyper-V connection options and click Next.
  6. Click on Create a new virtual machine. This is the VM that Hyper-V will use to attach the converted disk. Define the various settings for this VM, including VM name, the location where the machine will get created, CPU count, memory and virtual switch and click Next.
  7. Select your preferred option under VHD/VHDX image format and click Next.
  8. Set the destination of the image file and click Convert.
  9. Launch Hyper-V Manager, and turn on the imported VM.
  10. Add the network switch to the VM by navigating to Virtual Machine > Settings > Network Adapter > Virtual switch.
  11. Configure the network interface card (NIC) by adding the same IP addresses that you have on the XenServer.

Migrating from Citrix to KVM

QEMU disk image utility (qemu-img) is an open-source tool that users can leverage to convert and create various virtual disk formats. The qemu-img convert command can convert between multiple hypervisor formats, including .qcow2 and .qed for Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), .vdi for VirtualBox and .vmdk for VMware ESXi.

For example, the following command converts a .vmdk image file to a .qcow2 file:

qemu-img.exe convert vmdk -O qcow2 source.vmdk destination.qcow2

One main issue with qemu-img is that Citrix’s XenServer’s .xva file format is not among its options. Therefore, you have to add the .xva format to the utility to convert from Citrix Hypervisor to KVM. Follow the steps below to convert from an .xva image to KVM:

  1. Extract the .xva file image by entering the commands below:
mkdir uncompressed_xva 

tar -xfv vm.xva -c uncompressed_xva

The above command extracts the vm.xva file and saves it in the uncompressed_xva folder.

  1. Create a raw image. To get started, use the xva-img utility to create a raw disk image from what you have already extracted.
  1. Convert the raw image you have obtained above to .qcow2 file format via the qemu-img utility by typing the command below:
qemu-img convert raw -O qcow2 vm.raw vm.qcow2
  1. Now, import the vm.qcow2 disk image to KVM.

Migrating Citrix Workloads to VMware

vCenter Converter Standalone is VMware’s free application that you can use to migrate a VM from Citrix XenServer to a VMware with ease. You can also use this tool to reconfigure existing VMs on VMware ESXi hosts. There are four steps involved when converting from Citrix workloads to VMware:

1. Uninstall all the Citrix components installed on the VM, including:

Once you’ve removed these components, restart the VM.

2. Implement the migration process by following these steps:

3. Configure the VM.

Once the migration process completes, shut down the VM on the Citrix side, and power it on the VMware side. Once this is done, open the VM settings and set the static IP, gateway, and domain name system (DNS) parameters.

Parallels RAS Simplifies VDI Management

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a desktop virtualization solution that businesses can leverage to publish desktops and applications on any endpoint or platform. The best feature provided by Parallels RAS when it comes to desktop virtualization is that it supports most of the major hypervisors, including Hyper-V and VMware ESXi.

Parallels RAS also supports major hyper-converged infrastructures (HCIs) such as Scale Computing HC3 and Nutanix Acropolis. Therefore, no matter what hypervisor or HCI you use, Parallels RAS has got you covered as far as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) management is concerned. This flexibility also means that the organization does not need to worry about vendor lock-ins.

Additionally, migrating from Citrix to Parallels is quick and straightforward, thanks to an automated, free Citrix migration tool that can get the work done in minutes! When used in enterprises, Parallels RAS centralizes the management of resources. For example, from a single console, you can perform various tasks, including:

Download your free, 30-day Parallels trial today and see first-hand how it simplifies VDI management!